Friday, 17 July 2009

Defence Select Committee

Yesterday our PM was grilled by ministers on the Defence select Committee over the Afghanistan conflict.

Reading multiple reports it seems our PM as per his usual stance in the Wednesday farce that is PMQ's failed to answer any direct questions.

Also yesterday was published a Defence Select Committee report into Helicopter Capability and I post it here for your reading.

It is a terrible document in terms of the damning content, and further reinforces the knowledge we have of Labours cutting back of spending, of slshing the helicopter budget in 2004 when we were in 2 conflict zones.

In unusually clear language the Committee demolishes the Governments argument that there are enough helicopters for the British forces in Afghanistan

A particular comment within the docuent is on page 7 and I quote "Helicopters provide many vital capabilities to the modern Armed Forces and, with the challenge of hybrid warfare, are becoming increasingly relevant to current and contingent operations. Their status as force-multipliers lends further weight to their value. They are a cost-effective means of increasing the operational impact of other force elements and therefore, of operational capability generally. As such, it is essential that the fleet should be ‘fit for purpose’, both in terms of quality and quantity.

Page 38 'We believe that the size of the fleet is an issue, and are convinced that the lack of helicopters is having adverse consequences for operations today and, in the longer term, will severely impede the ability of the UK Armed Forces to deploy.'

Right, so according to the committee, the lack of choppers is affecting Operation Panthers Claw, and that not only did the Government fail to plan for the 21st century war which is being fought today, but if another war breaks out in the next decade, we will not be able to assist effectively..

Possibly the most damming paragraph suggests that contrary to Gordon Brown's argument, some missions cannot be undertaken at all, and others are undertaken at greater risk than necessary

'We are concerned that operational commanders in the field today are unable to undertake potentially valuable operations because of the lack of helicopters...also concerned that operational commanders find they have to use ground transport, when helicopter lift would be preferred, both for the outcome and for the protection of our forces.'

The Defence Select Committee chairman is James Arbuthnot. Apparently yesterdays meeting was and i quote again "very strained" the Prime Minister, insisted UK forces had enough soldiers in Afghanistan - but sidestepped many questions using the best intrests of security line.

Mr Arbuthnot said: "There are two ways of dealing with select committees - you can answer the questions or you can appear not to answer the questions.

The Prime Minister claimed he had disclosed more than the Tory MP might have anticipated.

"We looked at a number of options," he said. "If the number now is 9,150 there was no recommendation of 11,150. We discussed a variety of options, it's the right thing to do.

"I actually think I've given you more information than you might have expected me to do about this situation.

So an cheap shot across the bow there. Political gain rather than concentrate on questions which may help save lives.

The PM is quoted as saying from the meeting yesterday "For the mission we are doing at the moment we have the troops on the ground," he said as Mr Arbuthnot questioned him. "We are equipped to do the job that we are doing at the moment." He added that MPs should not create the impression that "our troops are not properly equipped"

This liar again regurgitated the line that the number of helicopters had risen by 60 per cent, but refused to reveal how many there were.

It is believed that there are about 23 in Afghanistan: 10 Chinooks, five Sea Kings and eight Apaches.

Just 15 of these can carry troops, which means there is one British helicopter for 600 troops out of total troop level of 9,000.

Both the DSC report and the reported performance of the PM, show clearly his lack of fortitude, his lies, his disseat and willful underfunding now clearly making us loose lives in theatre.

So PM where is your moral compass now........clearly not pointing at Afghanistan???

Bigger report here

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